Ripken said that his father understood the “common tool” of sports as a way to reach out to children. Ripken himself viewed baseball as the icebreaker to spread fun to disadvantaged youth, while providing them with mentors, life lessons and hope. The first step in working with youth, he said, was to get a child to smile, then to earn their trust. Then, he added, their natural curiosity takes over and the relationship-building between the children and the mentors can begin.
Frankie Crosby, Executive Director of Super Leaders, said the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation’s Badges for Baseball program, a baseball/softball themed mentoring program implemented by Super Leaders, led to Ripken’s selection for their Lifetime Achievement Award.
Super Leaders is a student leadership program for middle and high schools that identifies and develops at-risk but talented students into positive role models and peer leaders by giving them the learning tools to succeed. Brig Owens, Esq., a former Redskins player who founded Super Leaders in 1985, noted that other school children are motivated when they see the success of their Super Leader peers. Owens added that although Super Leaders brings hope to children through a supportive community and survival skills, the children are ultimately responsible for their own success.
Super Leaders operates in seven schools in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Ralph Neal, principal of the Friendship Public Charter School, Blow Pierce Junior Academy, believes that the Super Leaders’ atmosphere permeates throughout his school. He has seen first-hand how a student’s grades, self-esteem and maturity improve when they are chosen to participate in Super Leaders. Neal himself has benefitted from Super Leaders, noting that the program has reinforced the value of finding and developing the potential in each student.
Leon Harris served as the master of ceremonies during the dinner and award program. The sponsors of the VIP reception and dinner honoring Ripken included the V&S Foundation, the King Foundation and RBC Wealth Management. Brig Owens co-chaired the event with Super Leader board member Warren Bischoff.
Guests included Jenny Abramson, Maris and Mark Angolia, Amy and Warren Bischoff and their son Warren Bischoff II, Jeff Bischoff, Brian Bogart, James Bogart, Martina Bradford, The Honorable Michael Brown, Robert Butterworth, Adam Callaway, Sue and Robbie Callaway, Carmine Carulo, William Chase and Lisa Massaroni, Chelsey Clifton and Clint Fuhrman, Steve Conger, Joseph Connor, Theresa and Manus Cooney, Tracy and Steve Cooper, Kristine and Robert Crawford, Mike Crowell, Phil Cullins, Samuel Davis, Kathy and Charlie Deppe, Chris Dudley, David Eberhardt, Susan Engley, Tim Engley, Brian Galioto, Sergio Garcia, Andrea Gerold, John Gerold, Michael Haggerty, Paul Haggerty, Leon Harris, Daryl Haugh, Dee Haugh, Carlos Hernandez, Frank Intreieri, Gary Jonas, Tim Kane, Laurie Kent, Lesley King and son Liam, Deborah and Andrew Lipman, Dale Lipman, Marc Lipman, Janice Malley, Reginald Malley, Kate Manchester, Marianne and Aris Mardirossian, Kevin McCartney, Paul McNeel, William McSweeney, Thirza Neal, Priscilla Nelson, Theordore Nelson, Paula Novakovich, Janis and Andrew Oehmann, Jr., Richard Penn, Mark Piccirilli, Joy and Mike Porter, Kathy and Dwayne Priest, Sam Reid and son Harry, Mark Roth, Mary Ellen and John Ryan, Steve Salem, Adam Sierra, Kenneth M. Smith, Reg Stettinius, Eric Straus, Carolyn Strauss, Wellington Sullivan, Jeff Taylor, Marcia Lee Taylor, Ken Thompson, Glenn Valis, Pat Vaughan, Amanda Viragh, Martha Webb, Kari Whitney, Rob Whitney and Wayne Williams.